The move to declare the Golden Eagle as Scotland's national bird continues.
The Eagles are majestic creatures, although I have always had a soft spot for Puffins, which always strike me as rather attractive, with their clown like beaks.
I have only twice seen Golden Eagles in the wild.
Once was on the Isle of Mull. I was under a tree, taking shelter from the Atlantic showers. A rabbit appeared on a patch of grass about four metres from the tree. Suddenly the rabbit seemed almost to disappear, and in its place the Eagle. The rabbit had been killed instantly by the fell stoop of the gigantic bird. Slowly, almost lazily, it spread its wings once more and casting a contemptuous glance over its shoulder at me, its huge wings pushed it back into the sky, clutching its prey in its talons.
The whole encounter lasted only a few seconds but it was hard not to be in awe of this tremendous bird.
The other time I encountered these birds was walking up by Braemar, beyond Linn of Dee. There in the high hills I saw two Eagles. The were flying higher and higher, then they linked talons and folding their wings they span towards the earth- almost dancing. At a certain point they broke off and flew up to a greater height once more.
I am told that this was the mating flight of these great birds- and Eagles mate for life, so it is very rare to see them doing this.
I shall always recall with exhilaration the day I saw the Eagles dance.